Gizmodo gets off the hook in iPhone 4 case

Gizmodo gets off the hook in iPhone 4 case

Summary: Charges won't be filed against Gizmodo over that iPhone 4 prototype mess, but the same can't be said for the guys who found it.


In what is now just a small blip in the entangled world of Apple's legal dealings these days, Gizmodo will not be officially charged after publishing photos and detailed information about the iPhone 4 prototype last year.

In case you've forgotten, an Apple employee mistakenly left the iPhone 4, which was still a few months away from even being unveiled at the time, in a bar in Redwood City, Calif., just around the corner from the Cupertino headquarters.

Unfortunately for said employee, some guys found it and sold it to Gizmodo, which then turned around and published a ton of information about it -- all of which turned out to be valid as that is the iPhone 4 we all know and (sometimes) love today.

Gawker Media has published a brief statement of thanks and relief, and the San Mateo County District Attorney's statement is also available on Gizmodo.

However, the two individuals who didn't steal but found the iPhone, but then sold it when it wasn't theirs to sell, are being charged.

The San Jose Mercury News reports:

Brian Hogan, 22, has been charged with one count of misappropriating lost property for selling the phone to tech site Gizmodo after finding it in a German-themed bar and restaurant in Redwood City last spring. An associate of Hogan's, 28-year-old Sage Wallower, has been hit with the same charge plus one count of possessing stolen property.

Both of them will be arraigned on August 25 in San Mateo County Superior Court. It's a little hard to believe that it's taken this long for the case to get to this point, especially considering Apple was able to block the Galaxy Tab 10.1 for sale within the European Union before Samsung supposedly even found out about it.


Topics: Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones

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  • RE: Gizmodo gets off the hook in iPhone 4 case

    That's crap. Gizmodo and the journalist should be charged.
    • RE: Gizmodo gets off the hook in iPhone 4 case

      @LoverockDavidson -- Why?
      • Because these sleazy greedy cynical tabloid hogs knew they were buying ...

        @sackbut: ... stolen property (that also was commercial/trade secret), their act was intentional.

        <b>Prosecution is just afraid to go against "free press".</b>

        And yes, the property was effectively stolen, that is why there is second count for other guy how suggested offering iPhone 4 to Gizmodo.

        By the way, <b>few months before this incident, Gizmodo ran advertisement that they will buy any prototypes of new Apple products</b>. And they pulled this advertisement only after Apple's lawyers issued legal threats to them.

        These sleazy guys, including Chen and his chief, who financed the buy, should be in jail.
    • RE: Gizmodo gets off the hook in iPhone 4 case

      i completely agree.. finders keeper ,, if i find a diamond on the street i will ask my friends if they lost it, i am not going to publish in the papers under lost+found, be real, so these guys sold to gizmondo for a commercial value, and gizmondo's business model is perhaps to reverse engineering of what it found,,, everyone is into it industrial espionage ,, right from governments to business... welcome to the capitalistic market driven system,, where the bottom line is PROFITS and not ethics !
  • &quot;mistakenly left&quot;, that's unclear, it could also have been stolen

    steve Jobs comment on the case : "And one of our employees was carrying one and there?s a debate as to whether it was left in a bar or stolen out of his bag".

    thing is why didn't the guy who found it just give it to the bar owner? The Apple employee immediately went back to the bar when he found it missing.
    • RE: Gizmodo gets off the hook in iPhone 4 case

      poor employee, he is probably turned into ashes by now ...
    • It's called stealing, Dave,

      and it's happening all the time. I accidentally left my wallet on a counter in my bank and somebody stole it--and then tried to use the cheque book in it.
      Laraine Anne Barker
      • RE: Gizmodo gets off the hook in iPhone 4 case

        @Laraine Anne Barker It is stealing! Well said Laraine!
    • It's very clear. It was left at the bar

      @Davewrite <br><br>Saying it was stolen makes it easier for the prosocuter to level charges of "selling, or receiving stolen property".<br><br>Or maybe Steve Jobs felt he <b>had</b> to say it was stolen, as the alternative is that it means his employees do make mistakes, and that takes away the mystique of the "All perfect Apple".<br><br>Remember, Apple admitted no mistake in the flawed design of the iPhone4 antenna, instead claiming it was fine and people using it where at fault.</i>
      William Farrell
      • the room mate of the guy turned him in

        @William Farrell <br><br>1) it was the room mate of the guy of who took the phone who turned him in. So his own room mate was frightened of being implicated (stolen property on the premises?). <br><br>2) antennagate is hype.<br>the iPhone 4 has JD Power's highest ranking for customer satisfaction from a poll of thousands of actual phone users. the iP4 beat all the Nokias, Androids, rim etc many by a wide margin. (similar results from polls by ChangeWave etc) <br>the iP4 has a return rate of 1.7% (official apple stats - they can get into SEC trouble if they lied), compare that to the 50% return rate of the Blackberry Tour and the estimated 30%+ return rate of many android phones. So if Antennagate was such a big deal why is the return rate of iP4 1.7% ? <br><br>Farrel if you guys weren't consumed by Apple hate I wonder how you would have looked at the whole situation if it wasn't apple involved?<br><br>Look at the facts: they guy didn't give it back to the bartender or give it to the police but SOLD it to Gizmodo. He has to know SOMEBODY owns that phone yet he sold it. and yet you all attack Apple... (all Apple did was report it stolen and the police took over. The room mate of the guy rattted on him, Apple didn't do anything to the dude and yet you all attack Apple ... ) sheesh
      • RE: Gizmodo gets off the hook in iPhone 4 case

        @William Farrell When you move something that isn't yours, weather left intentionally or forgotten, is still stealing.
  • RE: Gizmodo gets off the hook in iPhone 4 case

    Let's not kid ourselves. This was a deliberate move by Apple to get TONS of free publicity prior to the iPhone4's release! Why has no one ever dared to say that? It was all over the news and trades for weeks, with not a cent being paid by Apple for all the hoopla. And now, COINCIDENTALLY, the whole issue resurfaces just prior to an anticipated iPhone5 release! PULLLEEASE! And of course Apple doesn't want to punish Gizmodo. That's who broke the story and got the ball rolling on all the free publicity! Jobs doesn't want to shoot that gift horse!!
    Ira Seigel
    • Curiouser and Curiouser

      Amazing, all of the coincidences.

      "There is only one thing worse than being talked about and that is NOT being talked about." - Oscar Wilde
    • RE: Gizmodo gets off the hook in iPhone 4 case

      @Ira Seigel
      Oh, of course. The one thing Apple really needs is publicity. Ha! Like they are about to create a conspiracy to fake a theft. Yeah, right.
      - It really is theft when you take something that is not yours and sell it to someone.
      • RE: Gizmodo gets off the hook in iPhone 4 case


        If you believe they wouldn't do it, you sir, are naive.
    • Of course, prosecution is now on command by Apple; and, of course, they ...

      @Ira Seigel: ... obviously go to coerce into committing crimes any day, even though, if uncovered, this would cause real jail time for people from Apple, as well as draconian measures by SEC (Securities Exchange Commission), which tracks all kinds of crook behaviour practices to manipulate markets and share price (even though this can not directly related).
    • Sales are so good Apple can't make their devices fast enough...

      @Ira Seigel

      .... and you think they need this kind of publicity?

      go read their financial conference call, the biggest problem apple says they have is making their devices because they sell out so quickly.

      they had to stagger the iP4 launch , first selling them only in the U.S and handful of other countries. Big customers like Korea etc didn't even get to sell the phone until months later.

      Having the device leaked out actually slowed sales of the iPhone 3GS and gave apple rivals a heads up on how to copy the phone. Apple is estimated to have lost hundreds of millions to billions of dollars.
      • RE: Gizmodo gets off the hook in iPhone 4 case

        LOST billions in sales of a phone (the 3GS) that had already exceeded it's intended market life by a factor of 2? REALLY?

        By the time this happened, Apple was already in preproduction on the 4G. No new changes were going to happen, and the 3GS had already been relegated to the "discount bin" in refurb form.

        They lost JACK, Jack. But they gained millions in free market buzz, especially after the "leak" with Gizmodo. Stop pulling numbers out of your arse and get real.

        I have no doubt that Apple employee "left" the phone in that bar; just like I have no doubt those dumb@sses who found it sold it to Gizmodo because they saw the "bounty" they had put on Apple product.

        What I do have some doubts about is that none of it was deliberate; the timing was just TOO convenient for the publicity it generated. I have no doubt that they COULD HAVE all been in on the scheme, even down to the 2 losers and the bar owner.

        I don't know how far down the chain involvement goes; but I don't believe for a moment that Apple & Gizmodo weren't behind all of it. It was just TOO EASY.
      • you have no clue of how business is run

        @mnemennth<br><br> a lot of people around the world don't read the tech press or follow things closely, they don't know the usual schedule of iPhone releases. So the Gizmodo press release stalled iPhone 3GS sales (remember the iPhone 4 won't be released in other countries - the launch was just in a few - for months. But all the press froze 3GS sales. ) Gizmodo also released internal and other tech details, seeing how Android, Rim etc phones copy Apple slavishly, just a little bit of heads up allows them to change their designs for new models etc to compete (how many millions have that hurt apple).<br><br>Like I said before to others here: you apple hate has clouded your common sense: if this was a CAR and somebody released specs of the next secret not released model showing changes in the engine, transmission etc don't you think the car company would be hurt?<br><br>and this Apple conspiracy theory: Apple is selling every device it makes, it STAGGERS release in different countries as it can't keep up with demand, the No.1 problem Apple says it has (go read the financials) is the problems of keeping up with manufacturing, the iP4 already one year old outsells other phones by a WIDE margin, so WTF does apple need to do this shennigans about 'fake thefts'? If the employee was to spill it out to some tabloid (for $$$ - go ask the British Royal Family about those risks) and Apple would be screwed and because it's Apple there is so much scrutiny from the press, the authorities etc.

        Apple is company that does NOT need to generate hype. From the last stats I have 2009 Apple spends LESS money than it's competitors in Advertising and Marketing as it doesn't need it so much. (in 2009 Apple spent 30% Microsoft's ad budget). Steve Jobs hardly even grants interviews although every reporter is dying to talk to him. Every apple product is covered like crazy by the press ... why does it need 'fake thefts' ?

        Conspiracy theory is dumbazz idea.
  • RE: Gizmodo gets off the hook in iPhone 4 case

    These charges should be thrown out immediately. there is no proof it was stolen and not lost or disregarded as trash by the employee. If speculation was allowed for charging then the world is in trouble. They have toprove it was stolen to charge someone with possesion of stolen property. I would just come back and say I found it disgarded as trash..prove it wasn't.